Posts Tagged ‘*JStyle’

After my shift at Giovanni’s ended, I picked up Piper from my neighbor’s apartment and went home.  I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to do that evening.  I nestled Piper on the couch in her Boppy pillow- she’s a bottle baby, but she loves using the nursing pillow as a miniature lounge seat- and flipped on some cartoons because the bright primary colors seem to soothe her.  As I sat next to her and sorted out my apron contents, I rediscovered the card with Cao Richard’s private number.  ‘Sooner rather than later,’ she had said.  I think I sat and stared at the card for fifteen  minutes or so.  Long enough anyhow for the cartoon I wasn’t watching to be replaced by a puppet show I still wasn’t watching.

I entered the digits into my cell, and stared at them a little bit longer.  Taking a deep breath, I pressed ‘send.’  And immediately thought, oh, shit, oh, shit.  I should have figured out what I’m going to say so I don’t sound like a stammering, dithering idiot if I have to leave a voice mail.  I should hang up now before it goes to voice-

My plus-one and I Dress: Cherie by Augusta Creations

Dress: Cherie by Augusta Creations
Jewelry: necklace by JStyle; rings/bangles by Loka Designs

“Oh, goodie, Emily, I’m so glad you called.”  Ms. Richard’s voice was warm and welcoming as she answered on the second ring.

“You did say ‘sooner rather than later’.” I replied.  “Can’t get much sooner than now.”  Inwardly I cringed at the banality of that particular conversational gambit.

“And in fact your timing is excellent, although I need to be brief because I still have three more calls to make.  So here are the important points: I interviewed a dozen candidates for the research assistant job.  My ideal candidate for the research portion of the job would be mentally flexible, good at multitasking, be willing to work in a team setting, and show initiative in anticipating Carlton and I’s needs.  For the gallery portion of the job, my ideal candidate would be pretty enough to distract potential buyers, good at soothing tempers or stroking egos when needed, and service customers based on long-term satisfaction rather then short term interests.”

I interrupted with a snort, “So far, you’re describing any half-way decent waitress.”

Hair: 'Saskia' in Black from EdelStore Flower: 'Gardenia Flower 1.2' (source unknown)

Hair: ‘Saskia’ in Black from EdelStore
Flower: ‘Gardenia Flower 1.2’ (source unknown)

“Exactly,” purred Cao.  “Which is why you were my first choice for the position.  Carlton favored Conner, however, because Conner has already developed contacts and associates within the social circles where we buy and sell.  Carlton thinks that networking is the most important trait in a candidate, because it both indicates existing aptitude for the job and serves as a multiplier, allowing them to leverage the talent they have more effectively.”

“I’m not plugged into anyone’s network. So why..”

Cao cleared her throat, interrupting my interruption. “I already know better than that, Emily.  Conner told us about your family and Elyssa told us some more.  In addition, Conner is keeping his other job, some kind of security consulting thing, so he negotiated to be on straight commission- not even a draw- rather than hourly.  Which means Carlton is open to paying someone else the hourly wages that would have been Conner’s if he is sufficiently impressed.  Carlton leaves tomorrow afternoon to try to purchase some bones that were recently dug up near Cairo, and I’ve been ordered to arrange interviews with you and two other candidates when he returns. You’re still my first choice, however, so I’m trying to stack the deck a little bit.  If I connect you with Carlton tonight, and schedule the others when he gets back, I’m hoping he’ll make you an immediate offer rather than wait.  Do you have any plans you can’t break tonight?”

Shape: Gigi Teen from Kids5B Skin: Lany by WoW Skins Jewelry: necklace from JStyle; rings/bangles from Loka Designs

Shape: Gigi Teen from Kids5B
Skin: Lany by WoW Skins

“No plans, but also no sitter.  How will Carlton react if I bring my plus-one with me to an interview?”

…Still to be continued…

…Info about tagged vendors is in my closet

This post is brought to you by Grumble, Grumble, by the power of denial, and by the number three!

The number three: less than three weeks until my due date, and I’m starting to freak out about it.

The power of denial: My usual way of dealing with stress and emotional pressure is to shove it off to one side and pretend it isn’t here.  “Pay no attention to the stress behind the curtain.,” if you like the Wizard of Oz. “This is not the stress you’re looking for,” if you prefer Star Wars.  So today I’m denying my pregnancy- I went ahead and parked Prenatal Piper with a sitter (First Life moms, eat your heart out!) and got back into my pre-pregnancy gigi teen body.  I’m also denying winter.  My firsty is battling the first big chill of the season with a furnace that is acting up, but I’m baring my midriff and showing my tan lines.  I don’t actually have a motto, mostly because I’m too fickle to stay with just one motto, but if I did, right now it would be, “When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping.”

Or maybe, "save a horse, ride a cowboy,"?

Or maybe, “save a horse, ride a cowboy,”?

And of course talking about shopping and talking about Grumble, Grumble always go together.  Right now, Grumble is one of over a hundred designers participating in Cirque de Seraphim, a two-sim charity shopping event to support the ASPCA.  This event is too big and too cool, and this blogger too busy and overwhelmed, to tell you everything.  Instead check out this description of what there is to see and do, and remember these three key points (there’s that number again!): 1) Money is being raised to prevent the abuse and neglect of animals both by direct donation and by a portion of the sales of exclusive items.  So far over half a million Lindens- that’s over $2200 First Life Dollars- have been raised, and the event is still going on until Nov 26th.  2) The sims, the designer kiosks, most of the merchandise are done with a circus theme.  More ‘inspired by’ than necessarily a strict circus theme- for example, all that my super cute ‘circus backpack’ that I’m wearing has to do with the circus is that the stripes on the back are reminiscent of an old-fashioned circus tent- but it nevertheless adds a level of entertainment and whimsey that makes this event very fun to wander and shop.  It doesn’t matter who you are; you need more whimsey and entertainment in your life.  3) As always, Allie Munro knows how to merchandise.  Grumble, Grumble’s offerings to the event are cute and well-priced and things you should have in your closet.  Go buy some now!

Another potential motto: "Whoever said 'money can't buy happiness' didn't know where to shop!"

Another potential motto: “Whoever said ‘money can’t buy happiness’ didn’t know where to shop!

Allie has, sadly for me, learned some wisdom from past assignments; the restrictions on how I could abuse, I mean use, my expense account were spelled out fairly strictly when I stopped by her office to get the reporter’s packet on Cirque de Seraphim.  Nevertheless, I was able to put together a very cute style card.  My shape and skin are the Kids5B Gigi Teen shape and Tiffany skin.  I’m wearing my hair a little longer than usual, the Melinda dark blonde mesh hair from *JStyle.  My outfit is the smoke Mini Sweater from Grumble, one of the items for sale in the CdS kiosk, and Promagic’s purple hippie harem pants.  The mustard latex ankle boots from Fetish Doll don’t quite match the rest of the outfit, but Firsty wanted me to wear them a post or two ago and they fit much more comfortably when I’m not pregnant.  Lastly I needed a few accessories to rev my cuteness up to the next level.  The circus backpack and the retro flower necklace are both Grumble items for the CdS kiosk again.  The patriotic sunglasses were a gift from !Soul back in July.  The feather belly ring is out of an indian princess costume set and the ring and bangles set is from Loka.

Or I could steal a motto from Jayy Von Monroe: "Always be yourself!  Unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman."

Or I could steal a motto from Jayy Von Monroe:
Always be yourself! Unless you can be Batman, then always be Batman.”

Popping into a phone booth, I pull a quick change to show another style card made possible by Grumble’s kiosk at Cirque de Seraphim.  Same Gigi Teen body, Tiffany skin, Melinda hair, but this time the dress is a Blue Mesh Sweater Dress that Grumble is selling at CdS.  The slashed black latex leggings and the red colorado boots, both regular Grumble retail items, add a bit of urban cool to my look.  For jewelry, I chose a men’s cross necklace and some red, white, and blue bangles, also from Grumble, and a source unknown nose ring.  Because I’m feeling a bit immature (shocking, I know…), I also don a black bat mask that Grumble was selling last month for Halloween and a Christmas reindeer antler headband I bought in Grumble kids last year.  Even when I’m being Batman, I’m still being myself…

I dunno.

I say this motto at work a lot: “There is no I in team, and there is no F in weigh!”

In order to bring the conversation full circle to the number three, I changed into a third look that Grumble’s CdS kiosk made possible.  Again, same shape, hair, and skin.  The super-cute white/flowered mesh dress is, again, from Grumble’s booth at Cirque de Seraphim, as are the red and purple flower eyelashes.  The pink sandals are also Grumble’s, from their booth at the Aloha fair earlier this year.  Not that it shows up well in the picture, but I do also have a leg tattoo from Grunge Ink for this look.  And for jewelry I grabbed the tagged necklace saying devil from Cute Poison, some silver bangle bracelets from *JStyle, and my source unknown nose ring.  The pictures in my gallery today show the nice range of products that Grumble is offering at Cirque de Seraphim, and they are just one of the venders at the Cirque, so you should definitely come down to the Sugar Falls sim and check everything out.

I know I’m going to make like the Light Brigade and yell, “Charge!” to see how much shopping I can do before I have to take my belly back from the sitter’s.  While I’m doing that, you can check out this semi-circus related video for the Sodom and Gomorrah show….

 

Matt the Firsty here.  I’m gave Emily the evening off because I wanted to update y’all on the crazy hectic-ness going on here in First Life.  It’s been over three months since the last time I guest-blogged for Emily, so I figure I’m due.  And I’m really giving her the night off, even letting her take the night off from being pregnant.  Instead, for the sake of the obligatory style card, I’m stepping back to what I think of as basic ‘core’ Emily: cute, flirty, and sassy:

"Mmmph, mmph" I've got too much to say to let Emily add her two cents...

“Mmmph, mmph” I’ve got too much to say to let Emily add her two cents…

  • Shape: Gigi Teen from Kids 5B
  • Skin: Kesia from WoW Skins
  • Hair: Dori from Tameless Hair
  • Dress: Muffin, in Red, from a Blue Blood gacha machine
  • Footwear: Red hearts sheer stockings; Colorado Boots in Black; Both are from Grumble, Grumble
  • Tattoo: ‘You make me happy’ from Orsini
  • Jewelry: Golden Ouroboros Torc from Adore & Abhor; Dangly beaded earrings from Grumble, Grumble;  Pearl White Bangles from *JStyle; Kiss Me Headband from le fil casse; source unknown nose ring.

So on to what’s new in my life…

My wife is still pregnant.  Now to the point where the pregnancy is visible, and random little old ladies come up and poke her belly.  I could probably do an entire post about our irritation with this.  In fact, I kind of did.  I’m rather proud of that post, by the way.  I’ve obviously never been pregnant myself, since I don’t have the right parts and pieces for that.  Most of the anecdotes Emily shares are things that happened to me, with identifying details transmogrified to better fit her life.  This time I was altering my wife’s story while stepping into a first person role within the story, and I’m just really satisfied with how it all worked out.

This pose is named 'Peace with Attitude'; Could any pose be more appropriate?

This pose is named ‘Peace with Attitude’; Could any pose be more appropriate?

There is approximately a month or so to go before I become a father, so right now is kind of like that moment when the cart is being brought to the top of the first hill in a new roller coaster.  I’m unsure, nervous, even freaking out a little bit.  I suspect, but I don’t know, what parenthood is going to be like.  The thing is, even though the ride hasn’t really started per se, it has still started enough that getting off the roller coaster is no longer an option…  Recently my wife and I went to birthing class.  Given the whole busy/hectic life thing, we opted for requesting a day off from work and doing the all-in-one-long-session version rather then try to fit a weekly or bi-weekly class.  I’m more freaked out by the impending arrival now that I’ve been forced to watch three births on a larger than life projection screen.  I’m not even carrying the baby, I have the simple job: stay calm and give my wife emotional support to help her get through a painful and trying time.  I’m now scared to death, not that anything bad is going to happen to my wife or to the baby, just that I’m going to completely fuck up my role, and be a drain rather than a bulwark to my wife’s psyche.  My father was an ‘interesting’ personality: he was incredibly smart, generally disdainful of social conventions, and had a unique blend of penetrating insight and emotional obliviousness.  All my life, my family has laughed at the story of my dad at my birth.  My mom had a very long early labor stage before progressing to active labor.  My dad was in the waiting room with some of the other family.  The doctor came in to let them know that it had finally begun, and asked my dad if he wanted to come back to the delivery room.  My dad gave the doctor a brief blank stare before replying, “I did my job nine months ago; it’s time for you to go in and do yours.”  All my life, I’ve experienced that story from the viewpoint of a witness; now, all of a sudden, I get the story from dad’s viewpoint.

I was re-reminded of the story by a contrasting story my pastor told recently.  There were complications with his wife’s first pregnancy, and the doctor came out to tell the pastor that they needed to do an emergency C-section, before telling him to scrub up.  My pastor knew C-section meant a surgery, that they were going to be cutting into his wife, and there was going to be blood and he gets rather woozy and he told the doctor it might be better if he just waited outside.  My pastor is a big man, and very fit.  His doctor was a little Korean man, just a little over five feet.  The little doctor reached up, grabbed the pastor by the collar, and replied, “Listen, mister.  You got her into this mess, the least you can do is be there when we get her out of it.”  That story has been my mantra when I start freaking out.

Don't freak out, Firsty.  Just stay calm and pray for dawn...

Don’t freak out, Firsty. Just stay calm and pray for dawn…

Now as if the impending arrival of our first child wasn’t enough of a big change, my wife and I have also become home owners for the first time.  In theory, I’m excited about owning a home.  I like the sense that I’ve accomplished one of the goals of a successful life.  In practice, I’m surrounded by shambling mounds of crates and boxes and a whole new list of things to do.  Moving is a big deal, there is a lot to do.  A lot of man-hours go into packing stuff, moving the stuff, unpacking the stuff, arranging the stuff, making the new house into a home.  Now let’s do the math: my wife is very pregnant right now; she’s physically limited, sleeps badly, and fatigues easily.  We are both introverted, somewhat melancholy personalities; that’s a plus in that we both most cherish quiet, peaceful time alone together and a minus in that we don’t have many friends or the sort of personality to ask/suggest/con our friends into putting their man-hours into our move.  We have a large extended family, but it is extended beyond our geographic region.  The relatives in the immediate region have enough limitations of age and health and schedule that we can’t really dump much of our burden upon them.  So guess who that leaves… yep, that would be me.  All those extra man-hours of moving, plus the man-hours involved actually owning and up keeping a house, when I’m a technically middle-aged man who has two jobs and therefore works an average of 50 to 55 hours a week.  It’s no wonder I feel like my list of things to do is growing faster than I can check things off…  Which is why I’m going to post this post as Part I and hopefully return to post Part II soon…

So late last night, (or early this morning, it’s all in perspective), several coworkers and I held an impromptu philosophical forum.  That is to say we all gathered on the porch of Madi’s new apartment and bullshitted about life, the universe, and everything.  As is customary for such forums, there was much smoking and drinking and eating.  This actually serves a two fold purpose.  Firstly, lubricated throats and relaxed filters contribute to a better grade of discussion.  Secondly, when the booze and weed are all gone, you know it’s time to disband the forum and go home.

My philosophical axe-to-grind last night was about how and why and whether people actually change.  For the last six months, I’ve been keeping a journal of story ideas and prompts.  Looking thought the bits and pieces I’ve collected, the ingredients I want to cook into a story, I’ve noticed redemption is a powerful theme that keeps popping up, that I want to see people change for the better over the course of a story.  For example, one of the potential ideas I’m working on involves a career criminal attempting to ‘go straight’ for romance.  But I need to write the story so it feels real, rather then superficial or ‘after-school-special’, so I’m introspecting about what I actually believe about why people change.

I came down to the Abbey looking for the right backdrop for impromptu philosophical forums...

I came down to the Abbey looking for the right backdrop for impromptu philosophical forums…

So can people change?  The trivial answer- I’m not sure whether it is a smart-ass or dumb-ass answer- is “Sure, people can change.  Look at the outfit I changed into!”  Smart or dumb, I’m going to give that answer anyway.  It lets me make a blatantly contrived segue to my postly style card before I return to my actual topic of redemption and transformation…

  • Shape: Pregnant Teen Katie, wk 31, by Cukabebe.  (Side note: before any one sums two and two to get five and sends me a flame about the gathering at Madi’s, I didn’t personally do any of the boozing or smoking.  Even if my pregnancy is merely a show of support for Mrs. Firsty, I still used it as my excuse not to drink or smoke.  I’ve always been too nervous to try being high or drunk- I joke that just being me is enough of an altered state for anyone- but I have enough sins of my own that I’m not interested in throwing stones of judgement at my coworkers.)
  • Skin: Dark Mystique in Copper by Kyxe Skins.  The little leaf design under my right eye is part of the skin.  The word ‘Slut’ under my left eye is a tattoo from the slut shop that I’ve worn many times before.  There’s also a Prozak tattoo of a cross on my back, hard to see with the veil I’m wearing today.
  • Hair: Penelope in Strawberry from My Pretty Pixels.  This hairdo is seriously cute, and scripted so that the flowers and veil are color-change.
  • Base Outfit: Seduction from Undisclosed Magic.  The corset-style top, neko ears, tail, and big paw-printing boots are all part of this outfit.  I was very under impressed with the daisy duke style booty shorts from this outfit.  They weren’t all that flattering to begin with, and my third trimester belly certainly didn’t make crotch hugging shorts look any better on me…
  • Jeans: Laica, a dollarbie from LC’s world of fashion.
  • Jewelry: The sherbet colored bangles and the ‘I’m Hot’ pearl necklace are both from Grumble, Grumble; the earrings are from *JStyle.  I’ve said before these two brands make my favorite accessories, so it’s hardly surprising they seem to pop up in every look.
    That's right.  I'm sexy and I know it...

    That’s right. I’m sexy and I know it…

     

So do people change?  Can people change?  I’m not really sure what I believe.  The problem isn’t that I don’t know what I believe; the problem is that I recognize my beliefs contradict each other, and therefore form an inconsistent system.  That actually doesn’t bother me per se.  Most people have inconsistencies in their belief systems, and the holes in their beliefs don’t really matter until or unless the people begin thinking or acting near those inconsistencies.  And by most people, I don’t mean people, more often than not, have inconsistencies.  I really mean everyone has inconsistencies, but I’m allowing for a theoretical person who has examined their own beliefs enough to find and resolve all of the inconsistencies.  Unfortunately, as a reader, two of the most emotionally powerful stories I know are the coming-of-age story, where an immature youngster accepts responsibility and becomes a better person for it, and the redemption story, where a person who has harmed the people around him in some way atones for his past actions and becomes a benefactor or protector.  Which means as a writer, I want to write stories where the protagonist changes into a better person.  I also agree with what Ayn Rand has written about a writer’s moral philosophy being unavoidably revealed by their writing, that it inherently shapes how they abstract and specify values and actions.  So if I’m going to write about people changing, I need to resolve my inconstancies.

In general, I don’t think people really change that much.  My god father claimed that by five a child’s adult personality had already developed, and I always accepted that statement.  I’ve done some research into baby personalities- (I confess, I’m both excited and a little bit terrified by the impending arrival of Firsty, Jr.)- and experts claim several key personality factors appear to be hardwired at birth.  Certainly my own personality has been fairly constant over the years as I’ve grown up, and few actions I take as an adult surprise those who knew me as a little girl.  And most of my patience and calm acceptance of people is predicated on the assumption they can’t help their flaws.  There’s no sense getting upset about the fact Jonas Giovanni is an asshole if Jonas just can’t help being an asshole.  If people can change; if, in fact, Jonas is an asshole because Jonas has chosen to be an asshole, then I suddenly have a lot more rage issues…

I'm setting sail in search of wisdom, adventure, and really cute outfits...

I’m setting sail in search of wisdom, adventure, and really cute outfits…

And yet, and yet… In rare instances, people do seem to change.  There are big dramatic instances, like Saul on the road to Damascus, or the personality change from being the victim of a crime.  There are milder stories like my own.  I’m generally regarded by my coworkers as the informal morale officer at Giovanni’s.  I’m generally cheerful.  When someone else is in a bad mood, I generally probe to find out why and do what I can to fix the problem or advise them on how to get over it.  I freely let fly with my catty and snarky sense of humor, helping others laugh rather than stress out.  Several coworkers have told me that its always a better night at work when I’m there, because there is less stress and drama.  So would it surprise you to hear that two years ago, I was a seething kettle of rage?  That I once stormed through a swinging door so angrily that the door came off its hinges?  That every time I saw a floor plan or a new schedule, my mood soured because worse servers were getting better sections and better shifts and I was falling ever further behind on my charge cards and student loans because I was getting fucked over from shifts and stations that I deserved and had earned?  That every customer who gave me a crappy 12% tip after I busted my tail, and every meeting that blocked my table from turning for an hour while some mid-level office flunky slowly nursed a soda and showed off his spreadsheets had me clenching my fists and looking for someone to punch out?  I made a conscious decision that I don’t like the person I am when I’m a petty, vindictive, angry bitch, and decided not to be that person.  I forced myself to let it go when I was angry, to look at the half-full side of the glass, to forgive people until it became less of a continual decision and more of a reflex.  I changed.

Or did I?  I’m still the same person.  Listing some of the things that made me angry back then was still enough to cause my jaw to clench and my eyes to narrow.  I’ve learned giving vent to that anger is counter-productive and that keeping a cheerful spin on things helps me obtain my goals- pleasant social interactions, profitable shifts, less attention from bosses.  For that matter, when I’m at low ebb- if I don’t get enough sleep, or I’m sick, or during certain other private health concerns- I devolve, and can feel my patience bleeding away.  Did I actually change, or did I just alter my priorities enough to override my basic behavior patterns?  Or is altering priorities really all change is?  Here’s a really trivial example.  Lasagna is one of my favorite meals, and Giovanni’s does a lasagna special every Tuesday night that is simply incredible.  Every Tuesday, Donnie, one of the cooks who has been there forever and a day, comes in an hour early to help Jonas or his son Stephen prepare and bake the lasagna.  I’m generally off on Tuesday, so I would often come in to use my employee discount and get some awesome lasagna.  About a year ago, Marcus, another server, confided to me that he would no longer eat anything Donnie was involved in preparing since he had twice seen Donnie leaving the bathroom without washing his hands.  Eww.  There is a sink and some soap in the prep kitchen; it’s perfectly possible that Donnie doesn’t wash his hands in the bathroom because he washes his hands in the kitchen.  It’s equally possible he doesn’t wash his hands in the bathroom because he doesn’t wash his hands anywhere.  I haven’t been back for lasagna Tuesday since.  So, I used to love our lasagna, and now I refuse to eat it.  Did I change?  Or is it more appropriate to say that I remained the same, but altered my behavior because new information- i.e. Donnie’s dirty crotch germs are the secret ingredient in the sauce- changed the calculus by which I make my decisions.

This is more than just semantics.  As I debated change back and forth with increasingly drunk and stoned coworkers, I realized my examples of change all had one common ingredient.  Something happens to modify a person’s worldview, and as a result the person transforms.  A woman who is raped becomes more distrustful of men because she now knows just how horrible some men can be and that you cannot always tell which men are safe and which are not.  After a religious epiphany, a new believer begins to prioritize actions and relationships according to a different set of more spiritual standards.  I still like lasagna- I’ve eaten a family tray of Stouffer’s all by myself; it’s my default choice if I’ve never eaten at a given Italian restaurant before- but my liking for lasagna doesn’t outweigh my aversion to Donnie’s dirty crotch germs, so my behavior changed.  My goals for work didn’t change.  My attitude about whether I like my job or not didn’t change.  My attitude at work changed when I altered my world view because I recognized bitterness and negativity were biting me in the ass, and acted upon my new world view.

I'm in a cemetery because my thoughts are very grave...

I’m in a cemetery because my thoughts are very grave…

Sometimes people change their world view, but don’t seem to change.  An alcoholic who recognizes he has a problem, and keeps drinking anyway.  The chronic philanderer who continues to cheat.  But given that people lie to those around them and even to themselves about what they believe, that people don’t really think out the consequences of their beliefs, that people don’t always line up specific instances against general beliefs, I’m willing to still categorize those instances as unchanged, or insufficiently changed world view.  For example, the alcoholic who ‘recognizes he has a problem’ may have decided he needs to drink less, but until he realizes that he cannot control his drinking and that he therefore cannot drink at all, he isn’t going to have true change.  People put their money where their mouth is when they act on their beliefs- if you feel there are exceptions, or loop holes, or other priorities, then you do not act and you cannot change until you are acting.

So to pull things to a semi conclusion: people change when their beliefs change and they act upon their new beliefs.  If I am toying, for example, with a story idea where a career criminal decides to go straight to become ‘worthy’ of a woman, I must either establish that such a change is already within his world view, that he values love enough to choose love over the difficulties of going straight or demonstrate believably that the romance is enough to change his world view.  In either case, I’m operating in that hazy area where seeming outward change is actually being true to inward values.  And forgive me for rambling a bit today, but the mixture of listening at Madi’s and talking to you here has helped me have a greater understanding of what changes us.  So I suppose I have changed for the wiser…

Road trips are glorious and I have gloried!  My one regret is that I was off the grid for a week.  I didn’t play any First Life.  Rather I set up the story that my firsty was going on a vacation with Mrs. Firsty- (It was their last vacation as a duo before Firsty, Jr. arrives in a few months and they become a trio.  I’ve learned that this apparently has a technical name, a ‘baby moon’, and that many couples view it as a last, best chance to take care of some of the things in their bucket list because babies change everything.)- which explained why no one was seeing my Firsty on his usual sims while I was off traveling.  During my road trip, I returned to my basics.  I didn’t use my cell, or my charge card, or teleport, all of which leave their mark on the grid.  I traveled light, paid cash, stayed in dubious flops.  It was as if I didn’t exist, so there was nothing to distract me from immersing myself in my core essence.  I read.  I wrote.  I reconnected with Norman who I haven’t seen in months, and with a friend, Kayley, that I haven’t seen since we both dropped out of school, me to scrounge for money, her to follow a boy.

Had a great time; wish I was still there!

Had a great time; wish I was still there!

Side note: Following a boy is probably one of the worst reasons to walk away from your old life.  Despite the claim that we women are fickle, nothing is quite as mutable as a boy.  Pretty much by definition, since, never mind age or physical development, what makes a boy a man is when he matures enough to form a life-plan and actually follow it.  Kayley’s boy, although easy on the eyes, was drifting from one pipe-dream to another with no real commitment, and by the time Kayley learned she was part of yet another pipe-dream, she was also stranded in Atlanta with her bridges burned.

Walking the plank?  I'm just not dressed for it!

Walking the plank? I’m just not dressed for it!

The best thing about seeing my brother and about seeing Kayley was reminding myself that when you really have a strong bond with someone, time and distance become illusions.  It had been over two years since I had seen Kayley, or even talked to her (unless occasional random texts or Facebook messages count, which I don’t feel they do) and yet, when I sat with her on her porch, gossiping about what’s new in my life and what’s new in hers, it was like we had never been apart.  Likewise, Norman doesn’t get many leaves to come home from the Marines and see me and Dad.  And yet, he’s always part of our life, even when he’s absent.  When he’s present, he fits right into that gap in our lives that he is absent from, and it’s just like he is always there.  Because of how young I was when we lost her, I don’t have many memories of my mother.  I’m never really sure whether I should envy Dad and Norman for having so many more memories or pity them for feeling so keenly what they lost.  But I always remember one day when she told me that every person is the sum total of all the relationships in their lives, that what makes a person who they are isn’t the D.N.A. in their blood, but the memories in their soul.  As a little girl, I was too young to understand.  Reconnecting with people I haven’t seen for a while, feeling the way those relationships are a part and piece of me, and that I am likewise a part and piece of them, makes that statement clear in a way nothing else does.

So yeah, the road trip to Georgia was absolutely fricking glorious!

Gosh.  Am I art or am I memorex?

Gosh. Am I art or am I memorex? (A strongly processed picture…)

There’s just two more things I need to do to celebrate my return from my road trip.

One, I need to provide the style card for this post.  (Don’t leave home without one!)

  • Shape: Harem Princess DCup from Alady Island
  • Skin: Sweet *3 from *JStyle
  • Tattoo: Vegas, dark, from Infected
  • Hair: Ruby, from Tameless Hair
  • Outfit: Apocolyptic Angel from Pinkmare’s House
  • Shoes: Mesh Cap Toe Pumps, beige/black, from Grumble, Grumble
  • Jewelry: Bracelets from *JStyle, source unknown lip ring.

Two, a few songs from my ‘on the road’ playlist…  Moving Right Along (from the original Muppet Movie, covered by Alkaline Trio); In My Car (I’ll Be The Driver) by Shania Twain (Damn straight!  I’ve got too many control issues to let someone else drive…), and I Can’t Drive 55 by Sammy Hagar.  (As an aside, neither can I.  Tennessee State Troopers, however, take a dim view of people who can drive 91.  An expensive dim view.  Now I remember why teleporting is a cheaper way to travel…)

My firsty has definitely been cramping my style this week.  It’s not necessarily his fault, there’s a lot of good stuff going on in his life, and if you force me to express an opinion, I’m actually really happy for him.  He and Mrs. Firsty are closing on a house next week.  There’s a little Firsty, Jr. on the way.  He’s experiencing success in his career field, and there is good movement on the dream of getting published.  This is all good, and I’m excited for him.  Given that he is the naturally melancholic personality and that I cheerfully embody our whimsical and exuberant side, I’m probably more excited for Firsty in my life than in his.  The only problem is I’m so busy trying to keep all the plates spinning while I play First Life, I’ve hardly got any time to live my life.

Tonight I managed to get a rare window of time to go out and look for trouble, I mean adventure.  I’m tired of playing at mortgages and paper work and responsibility; I want to do something fun and flirty and irresponsible.  If Mrs. Firsty would disapprove, I’m probably on the right page.  I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m going to do something!

First things first, however: Every post needs a style card.

Need a quick, cute, complete outfit?  Hit up JStyle!

Need a quick, cute, complete outfit? Hit up JStyle!

Wanting to get on with the rest of my post quickly, I grabbed one of the complete avatar group gifts I’ve picked up from JStyle.  It’s old enough that it’s not a current gift (gifts remain gifts for a limited time and then become sale items, usually for 99 L$) but when I came down to the store to pose by their sign, I can vouch the current gifts are just as cute…  My pants, top, skin, shape, and jewelry are all from the same outfit.  I did tweak the set a few ways.  I didn’t care for the shoes with this particular outfit, because the shoes were too small and the heels were too high.  So instead I pulled on my favorite red leather kicks from Prozak.  I also wanted to be furrier so I grabbed a nice long hair, Harmony (cocoa color) from Tameless Hair and the Devilish Neko set, ears and tail, from Dahllywood.  To help compliment the red of my tail and ears, I put on some red ‘Love Makeup’ from -UtopiaH-.  And I also added a few freebie source unknown tattoos, one over my belly button piercing and one in the small of my back.  Bada-boom, bada-bing, and now to find some trouble…

I'll just lean back and think of something...

I’ll just lean back and think of something…

I snagged a couple nice selfies while I blinked through some landmarks, but I didn’t find what I really wanted: a setting to just cut loose for a few hours, to be wild and possibly wanton, before I submerge myself again in the mundane and meaningful.  It’s like the old country song, “I don’t have to be me (’til Monday)“.

Or maybe I'll just dance the night away...

Or maybe I’ll just dance the night away…

Actually, dancing seems like a great idea.  Let’s see if I can find a club that fits my mood…

There wasn't a dance event going on, but I had to take a picture of the Hellgate Nightclub's decor...

There wasn’t a dance event going on, but I just had to take a picture of the Hellgate Nightclub‘s decor…

The Black Cat… nice crowd here...

The Black Cat… nice crowd here…

Ooh.  The Black Cat was definitely the place to be.  The music was a nice 80’s rock mix.  Not quite as edgy or alternative as what I generally listen to, but good, basic, crowd-pleasing stuff with broad appeal.  The head count was a crowd of between two and three dozen, so enough people to do some mingling but not so many that I felt crowded out or suffocated.  The mix was about 60/40 women/men, so there were all kinds of interesting potential minglers.  Stratten is an adult sim and the Black Cat is advertised as a ‘hook-up’ sort of night club, so many of us arrived with one thing on our mind.  As my little crowd shot shows, it was the sweet spot of attractiveness: There was eye candy for me to enjoy- and my eye has a very varied appetite, so I’m talking both beefcake and cheesecake- but (in my own, admittedly biassed, opinion) I was the sweetest candy in the room.  It’s petty, I know, but as much as I like to look pretty, it’s an even bigger ego boost to look prettier than those around me.

As the crowd swirled around, several gentlemen and one lady came up to flirt with me.  I was flattered, teased, bantered with… it was just the fun I needed.  There were no trolls or noobs in the crowd, or at least none that revealed themselves to me.  Although there was one couple doggedly progressing from lip-locked to hip-locked on a couch in the corner.  I was tempted to hold up a small paper sign with a number just to be snarky.  (Probably a 7.5 or 8.  I’m sorry, but you should either have sex without an audience or you should pander to and perform for your audience.  I cannot judge a higher score for the happy couple when they were so routine about their routine.)  No body else in the club seemed to give them any notice, so I contented myself with occasional peeps at their progress.  I would have thought when I set out that I was looking for brief, meaningless encounter, an opportunity to put the lewd into an interlude.  None of the gents who hit on me had quite what it would take to close the deal, however.  Instead I enjoyed and reveled in the thrill of the pursuit, which was all the more fun when it didn’t have to get compared to a consummation.  So I didn’t actually do anything, but I had exactly the night I needed.  Chalk this one up as a victory, my friends.

Either I've shrunk or this is a really big balcony; I don't think I want to meet the man who lives here...

Either I’ve shrunk or this is a really big balcony; I don’t think I want to meet the man who lives here…

I don’t often offer an unsolicited testimonial to a product.  (Although I guess that depends on the definition of testimonial.  If posting pictures and getting excited about how cute a given outfit is counts as a testimonial, than I actually give unsolicited testimonials with almost every post…)  Today, however, I’m excited about a couple of animation HUDS I picked up, so I’m going to rave and roar a little bit.  Both of the products are from Elle Mode, and I’ll wax eloquent about them shortly, but give me a few lines to take care of my every-post obligations first…

The view from this room is breathtaking!

The view from this room is breathtaking!

I didn’t want to spend too much time (or verbiage) on my fashion card today so I could talk about the HUDs instead.  But here’s what I’m wearing:

  • Shape: Teen Katie (wk 25) from Cukabebe.
  • Skin: Kesia from *JStyle
  • Tattoos: Luck of the Irish Leg 05, a Grunge Ink item from a past gacha fair; ‘Lick my Boobies’ chest tattoo from Egozentrikax; seductive (dark) face makeup, source unknown; and Slut face tattoo from the Slut Shop.
  • Hair: ‘purple hair medium’, source unknown freebie.  The little purple flower in my hair is also source unknown
  • Outfit: The actual clothing: bra, sheer blouse, ruffled mini skirt are all source unknown.  The ripped fishnet tights are out of a halloween costume.
  • Shoes: Red Leather Kicks by Prozak
  • Jewelry: Bangles from *JStyle, Lip ring and barbed wire collar both source unknown.
    This landscape is even more beautiful when I'm present...

    This landscape is even more beautiful when I’m present…

    The first HUD I want to talk about is the ‘Sexy Top Model 101 Poses HUD‘.  This lovely widget has a bunch (presumably 101, although I haven’t actually counted) of fashion poses. You can set it to change poses on a timed interval or to remain in one pose until you change it manually.  You can cycle through poses in a set order or just randomly jump around.  At 350 L$, it is a moderate investment of lindens, but I’ve found it well worth it so far for my fashion selfie needs.

So embarrassing, but sometimes I cannot control myself...

So embarrassing, but sometimes I cannot control myself…

The other HUD is a multi-setting AO, (Animation Override for those who aren’t ‘in the know’ about these things.)  For a long time I’ve used a TuTy’s 3-in-1 AO, switching between ‘Brooklyn Girl’ and ‘Shy Girl’ depending on my mood.  (I’ve used the third movement set, ‘Sexy Drunk Girl’, once or twice when I’ve gone clubbing, but it’s not really me.)  I love that AO, and I’ll continue to use it, but I also really, really like this new one: the Series 3 Modular AO by Elle Mode.  The modular part of the title is that you can load other note cards into the AO and expand it.  (To be fair to TuTy’s, the TuTy’s is also supposedly customizable- but I would have no idea how to add other sets into it or modify existing sets.  Elle has designed modules to be moderately simple so that non-technical girls like myself can load them.)  You must have the actual AO, which is included either with the default ‘prima donna’ set or with a two pack ‘Hot Girl’ & ‘Masturbatrice’  (I have strong perv tendencies, which I claim are all my firsty’s fault.  Guess which one I bought?) There are also modules for a work out girl, a ‘funny, moody girl’, and two different fashion model sets.  ‘Funny, moody’ is most me, but the masturbatrice model is great for naughty role-play, since every time you quit concentrating on something else- i.e. stop actively walking or using another animation or pose device, you start, well, um, you know.  Hence the picture I took back at my apartment…  In addition, the Modular AO has a couple other nice features.  It includes a facial expressions emoter, the ‘humanizer’ to add small gestures like smoking, taking a drink of bottled water, or shrugging into the animation loop, and a dance set up that also allows other avatars to do synchronized dancing with you.  I don’t make it to the clubs like I used to, but I still love the idea of making it out to the clubs, so I’m looking forward to hopefully trying that out.  Elle Mode also has some great sexy clothing- mostly lingerie and stripper boots, so I’m going to run and find some new ways to spend money…. But I wanted to pause to share that I really like these animations, and think you should take a look…